Les Waters will never forget his reaction after he ate a hamburger at a restaurant in January 2015.

“It’s like your throat swells up, you can’t breathe, your blood pressure drops, and you black out,” said the 63-year-old man from Harcourt, a small community in eastern Ontario.

Waters, an avid hunter and meat lover, learned he had developed a rare allergy to everything made from beef, pork and lamb.

A bite from a tiny tick, recently spotted in Canada, is to blame.

The culprit, the lone star tick, is named for the white dot or lone star on the back of the female. Native to the southeastern United States, it has slowly migrated north, hitching a ride on birds, deer, and domestic animals.

Waters is not sure where the tick found him, but he suspects it might have been on a hunting trip in northern Quebec. The lone star tick has been found in neighbouring New Brunswick.

“The two we have which were contributed to us by people in New Brunswick, one fed from a human and one fed from a dog,” said Prof. Vett Lloyd, a biologist at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.  

Dr. Lloyd says the lone star tick, unlike other ticks, is aggressive. “It is one of the few that will actually chase their prey. Once they know that you’re there, they will trundle towards you,” she said.

The lone star tick, which is moving from the southeastern United States into Canada, is named for the white dot on the back of the female. (James Gathany/Centers for Disease Control/Associated Press)
How these ticks cause the allergy that affects Waters, which was first identified in the 1990s, is complicated.

When the tick bites a person, it spits a protein called alpha gal into the blood.

That’s a compound present in beef, pork and lamb, and humans usually digest it harmlessly. But when it appears elsewhere in a person’s body, for example in the bloodstream, it causes a strong reaction.

The body develops antibodies to fight back, and the battle causes symptoms that range from a general rash to a severe anaphylactic reaction. There is no treatment yet.

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I need you to know this

… None of us have it all figured out. None of us are immune to pain. We are all on this planet, lost together. We are never as alone as we feel. We are all here together to help each other live. If you think the planet really would be better without you, then you wouldn’t have been born in the first place. I’m serious. You are here because you are meant to be. This world needs you, even if you can’t see it. We need YOU.

… Yes, life sucks sometimes, actually a lot of the time, but it isn’t hopeless, I promise. Every single day things have the potential of getting better. They WILL get better. Pain hurts so much … but
joy and love are out there too.

… When I get happy now I feel it deeper than most people. I feel its full intensity because I know what it’s like to be in excruciating pain. Joy is a gift. Even if I only get to experience it a handful of times in my life, I want to squeeze every drop from it. I can honestly say NOW that happiness is real.

… The things that stress me out matter, yes, but they aren’t everything. Yes, I’m broke. Yes, I’m ALWAYS in pain, but dammit, the sun was out today. I am breathing on my own. I can walk (after dr's saying I would never regain that strength). I can hide under the covers and snuggle with David all day if I want to.. I can eat ice cream for supper. I can laugh. I can cry. No emotion lasts forever.

… By choosing to live I can help people. Maybe I might be able to help one person feel better. By helping even just that one person I am also helping myself.

… Ashley, you have no idea what you are missing. I wish there was some way I could share this thing they call happiness with you. I think you'd still be here right now if you had gotten a chance to feel it for yourself …

I miss you.

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A Secret

You don’t need to write some self help book with the intention it’s going to save people, or become Tony Robbins or go build 12 schools in Colombia to save our planet. Do you REALLY want to save our planet?

 Then live your own damn TRUTH!

Speak your truth! Be your truth! Live your truth!

Don’t sit around every day and drink Pepsi and think you’re doing anyone any favors.

The greatest cause of disease is all the emotions that we hold onto that manifest into physical pain in our bodies. If you want to swallow your truth and work, have a job that you hate—it will kill you and that ain’t doing you or your family any favours. 

So how does it heal this world if you do what you love?

 Well, when you do what you love, you shine.

You become happy.

You float like a weightless chipmunk through your days because nothing is heavy anymore. People will walk up to you and when you tell them they will go, “Ahhhhh, that’s why. You’re happy because you do what you love!”

Like its some damn secret that somebody needs to tell everybody else (even though you already know and he knows, and she knows and we all know)

The secret: do what you love!

But it’s a secret so SsHhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone. 


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Getting A Grip

OK so, I struggle every day with OCD. I also have a love hate relationship with housework and every day chores. My house is always clean and I am always striving to keep on top of the chores. But yet it consumes me. It takes me longer to do each task because I have to do it all with one hand. 
But I always manage to get it done one way or another, and it’s always done well. But when you throw in the obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I really struggle. Nothing I ever do is ever good enough, for me. And it’s never enough. 
Things have been escalating lately and it has made life inside of my head quite unbearable. So yesterday I sat down with my notebook and I broke down my house room by room. I did A page for each room and then for each room I’ve listed every individual thing that I need to clean in that room. I made it very detailed and each task was very simple. And I have committed to sticking to one room per day. Rather than going around all the time, freaking out, because there is so much cleaning that has to be done and then crumbling under the pressure that I keep putting on myself, I’m going to attempt a new routine. I will focus on one room each day. When my checklist is complete, then I’m off the hook for any other cleaning, except laundry and dishes. My goal? To ease some of my anxiety and to stop the feelings of panic I have every day. I don’t want to be at the circus or at anniversary parties thinking about going home so I can change the sheets in our bed. 

I’m saying it here so I can be accountable. I need to do this. Because I’m starting to go crazy. 

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Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.

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